A woman wanted in the hit-and-run death of a tow truck driver on the Howard Frankland bridge was found Monday night at a friend's house in St. Petersburg, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Allison Huffman, 36, of Riverview was taken to the Pinellas County Jail. According to court documents, Huffman admitted she was the driver. She allegedly told authorities she fled the scene because she was "scared" after hitting and killing a man with her vehicle.
Officers received a tip that Huffman was at the Promenade Apartments at 540 Carillon Parkway, apartment no. 3069, and kept her there until troopers arrived and arrested her, according to St. Petersburg Police Department.
Law enforcement on scene at apartments, where driver they say hit and killed tow truck operator, arrested. pic.twitter.com/9uQ3xisjDc
— Michael Paluska (@MichaelPaluska) February 16, 2016
The hit-and-run was one of four fatal wrecks that same morning.
Florida Highway Patrol said they located Huffman's vehicle a short time after the crash. They found the damaged black Volkswagen near the Crown Plaza Hotel, but the driver was not with the car. The vehicle had front-end damage, as pictured in the media viewer above.
Huffman has a long criminal history, mostly behind the wheel. Here are a few relevant items from her record:
4/2002: DUI w/ injury or property damage (TPD)
7/2002: DUI w/ suspended license (TPD)
1/2003: Completed DUI school
1/2008: Violation of probation for DUI (Pinellas Co.)
7/2010: DUI w/ refusal to submit testing (TPD)
12/2011: Completed DUI school a second time
5/2013: Completed substance abuse treatment
11/2013: Careless driving (Charlotte Co.)*
(*Careless driving was a citation. All others were arrests.)
The tow truck driver, Rogelio Perez-Borroto, 43, worked for Lou's Towing. He was outside his truck preparing to tow a vehicle from the bridge when the Volkwagen hit him, launching him into his truck.
When the impact occurred, Perez-Borroto was standing 16 inches into the emergency lane near the outside white fog line, according to FHP. Florida law requires drivers to move over when approaching emergency vehicles, which includes tow trucks.
He died at the scene, according to FHP. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs.
The right two lanes of northbound I-275 were closed after the accident, and remained closed for several hours.
Lou Moralez, owner of Lou's Total Car Care, knew something was wrong Monday morning when he couldn't reach one of his tow truck drivers.
"He saw somebody pulled over, stuck. so out of the kindness of his heart he pulled over to help them. He took those people; he put them in the truck to make sure they were safe," said Morzalez. “It's a four-lane highway, you came across whatever amount of traffic to find the only individual that's there.”
When we stopped by Huffman's Riverview address, the people inside the home wouldn't open the door and asked us to leave.
A Facebook post from November shows Huffman taking a selfie from what appears to be inside her car. The caption reads: "Maybe this is why I've been accused of not concentrating on driving while driving."
"I don’t care if her license was valid or not... Why are we allowing this to happen? Why are we so lenient? why is this incredible human being dead?" said Moralez.
Moralez said Perez-Borroto lived in Tampa with his brother. We're told he was a husband and father. His family lives in Venezuela, and he hoped to bring them to the Tampa area.
"After being in this business for so long, you can see where a good, kind individual just shines through," Moralez said.